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The Last Summer (of You and Me)

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Overview

In the town of Waterby on Fire Island, the rhythms and rituals of summer are sacrosanct: the ceremonial arrivals and departures by ferry; yacht club dinners with terrible food and breathtaking views; the virtual decree against shoes; and the generational parade of sandy, sun-bleached kids, running, swimming, squealing, and coming of age on the beach.

Set against this vivid backdrop, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is the enchanting, heartrending story of a beach-community ...

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Overview

In the town of Waterby on Fire Island, the rhythms and rituals of summer are sacrosanct: the ceremonial arrivals and departures by ferry; yacht club dinners with terrible food and breathtaking views; the virtual decree against shoes; and the generational parade of sandy, sun-bleached kids, running, swimming, squealing, and coming of age on the beach.

Set against this vivid backdrop, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is the enchanting, heartrending story of a beach-community friendship triangle among three young adults for whom summer and this place have meant everything. Sisters Riley and Alice, now in their twenties, have been returning to their parents’ modest beach house every summer for their entire lives. Petite, tenacious Riley is a tomboy and a lifeguard, always ready for a midnight swim, a gale-force sail, or a barefoot sprint down the beach. Beautiful Alice is lithe, gentle, a reader and a thinker, and worshipful of her older sister. And every summer growing up, in the big house that overshadowed their humble one, there was Paul, a friend as important to both girls as the place itself, who has now finally returned to the island after three years away. But his return marks a season of tremendous change, and when a simmering attraction, a serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, the three friends are launched into an unfamiliar adult world, a world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.

Ann Brashares has won millions of fans with her blockbuster series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, in which she so powerfully captured the emotional complexities of female friendship and young love. With The Last Summer (of You and Me), she moves on to introduce a new set of characters and adult relationships just as true, endearing, and unforgettable. With warmth, humor, and wisdom, Brashares makes us feel the excruciating joys and pangs of love—both platonic and romantic. She reminds us of the strength and sting of friendship, the great ache of loss, and the complicated weight of family loyalty. Thoughtful, lyrical, and tremendously moving, The Last Summer (of You and Me is a deeply felt celebration of summer and nostalgia for youth.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In her first adult novel, the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants makes a journey to Fire Island, where 21-year-old Alice and her slightly older sister, Riley, are sharing a home and an infatuation. Boyish lifeguard Riley values her closeness with longtime neighbor Paul, but their "best friend" relationship has less pull than the attraction he shares with Alice. To protect Riley's feelings, the pair try to keep their blossoming romance secret. In the land of fiction, as in the real world, such furtiveness can't be sustained indefinitely, but in The Last Summer (of You & Me), complications and surprises confront us around every turn.
Kim Edwards
Despite its serious themes The Last Summer (of You and Me) is full of optimism and too neatly resolved. But it's steeped in the familiar longings for lost time that readers seeking the carefree pleasures of a summer will enjoy.
— The Washington Post
People
[Those with] a hankering for a breezy summer read will easily relate to Brashares's restless threesome of lost souls.
Entertainment Weekly
Natural, insightful, and affecting. A-.
Cosmopolitan
An unputdownable beach book calls for love, deceit, and sex. And The Last Summer (of You and Me)...has all those elements.
Redbook
When summertime neighbors Alice and Paul realize their feelings for go deeper than friendshipm they're afraid to share the news of their clandestine affair with Riley, Alice's sister and Paul's best friend. But then a darker, more tragic secret threatens to come between them. The page-turning pace of Ann Brashares's The Last Summer (of You & Me) makes it a perfect beach read.
Anita Shreve
Ann Brashares's new book will delight all of her Traveling Pants fans—now grown-up and ready for this very adult novel of love, loss and the beauty of intense family bonds. (Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Pilot's Wife and A Wedding in December)
New York Times
Would do nicely under a beach umbrella.
Miami Herald
A vivid elegy for youth...Brashares is wise as well as sentimental. She sagely remembers just how it feels to be young, lost, and in love. The Last Summer (of You and Me) is a weeper: If you don't grow misty there's something a bit shifty about the state of your heart.
Kim Edwards
Compelling...steeped in the familiar longings for lost time that readers seeking the carefree pleasure of a summer will enjoy.
The Washington Post
USA Today
The Last Summer is as much a treatise on loyalty and letting go of childish ways as it is on a summer of love.
Vancouver Sun
Get out your handkerchiefs. A perfect summer novel.
Adriana Trigiani
Funny, deep and true, this one will keep you reading long after the sun has gone down. (Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Big Stone Gap and Lucia, Lucia)
Publishers Weekly

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsauthor delivers her first novel for adults, a treacly tale about the tribulations a trio of longtime friends encounter. For as long as she can remember, 21-year-old Alice has spent summers on Fire Island with her parents and older sister, Riley. Riley, 24, is a beach lifeguard, more boyish in both looks and spirit than sweet, feminine Alice. An island neighbor and Riley's best friend, Paul, whose father is dead and mother mostly absent, returns to the island after two years away and must decide whether to sell his family's house there. More importantly, he and Alice finally act on an attraction they've felt for years, but they keep their frequent nuzzling quiet so as not to hurt Riley. Riley, meanwhile, has her own problems that could ruin Alice and Paul's clandestine romance and just about everything else. Brashares's YA roots are on display: the girls and Paul act like high school kids (Riley threatens to move out of the house unless everyone butts out; Paul and Alice are stricken with the most saccharine of puppy love), and anything below the surface is left untouched. It's a beach read, for sure, but a mediocre one. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Having conquered YA fiction with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequels, Brashares takes on adult fiction with this story of a young woman who's getting leery of her talent for returning lost objects. But reuniting a backpack with its charming male owner turns out to be one smart move. With a 15-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A novel about sisters, friendship, irrevocable loss, blossoming love, old betrayals and secrets, from bestselling YA writer Brashares (Forever in Blue, 2007, etc.). Clearly aimed at the author's maturing fan base, the book opens with 21-year-old Alice sitting barefoot in the midday sun, waiting for the ferry that will bring a mercurial and beloved childhood pal back to Fire Island. Paul spent his summers there next door to Alice and her older sister Riley, forming a triumvirate that shared growing pains, fears and hopes for the future. His wealthy but wayward father, who named him for Paul McCartney, died from a drug overdose when the boy was very young. Now, his beautiful Italian mother, Lia, flits in and out of his life. As Riley, who works as a lifeguard, watches the water for those who've gotten in over their heads, Alice begins to question her feelings for Paul. The narrative moves back and forth between past and present, showing the three best friends balancing their daily lives with their special summers. They negotiate changing relationships, a dark secret that affects Alice's family and a tragedy that alters everything-from their friendship to their futures. Brashares writes with a spare hand about the evolving ties between Paul and the sisters, detailing Fire Island summers with believable and easy familiarity. But the characters, although likeable, never really come alive, and neither does the novel. Slow-moving, deliberately paced coming-of-age tale oddly lacking in passion, though a built-in readership will undoubtedly want to read it anyway.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641969744
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Brashares
Ann Brashares is the author of the young adult novels The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants, and Forever in Blue. This is her first novel for adults. She lives in Manhattan and spends summers on Fire Island, New York.
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Read an Excerpt

One

Waiting

Alice waited for Paul on the ferry dock. He’d left a crackly message on the answering machine saying he’d be coming in on the afternoon boat. That was like him. He couldn’t say the 1:20 or the 3:55. She’d spent too long staring at the ferry schedule, trying to divine his meaning.

With some amount of self-hatred, Alice had first walked out onto the dock for the 1:20, knowing he wouldn’t be on it. She’d looked only vaguely at the faces as they emerged from the boat, assuring herself she wasn’t expecting anything. She’d sat with her bare feet on the bench at the periphery, her book resting on her knees so she wouldn’t have to interact with anyone. I know you’re not going to be on it, so don’t think I think you are, she’d told the Paul who lived in her mind. Even there, under her presumed control, he was teasing and unpredictable.

For the 3:55, she put Vaseline on her lips and brushed her hair. The boat after that wasn’t until 6:10, and though Paul could miss the so-called afternoon ferry, he couldn’t call 6:10 the afternoon.

How often she did attempt to process his thoughts in her mind. She took his opinions too seriously, remembered them long after she suspected he’d forgotten them.

It was one thing, trying to think his thoughts when he was close by, his words offering clues, corrections, and confirmations by the hour. But three years of silence made for complex interpolations. It made it harder, and in another way it made it easier. She was freer with his thoughts. She made them her own, thought them to her liking.

He had missed two summers. She couldn’t imagine how he could do that. Without him, they had been shadow seasons. Feelings were felt thinly, there and then gone. Memories were not made. There was nothing new in sitting on this dock, on this or that wooden bench, watching for his boat to come. In some ways, she was always waiting for him.

She couldn’t picture his face when he was gone. Every summer he came back wearing his same face that she could not remember.

Absently, she saw the people on the dock who came, went, and waited. She waved to people she knew, mostly her parents’ friends. She felt the wind blow the pounding sun off her shoulders. She slowly dug her thumbnail along a plank of the seat, provoking a splinter but caking up mold and disintegration instead.

When it came to waiting, Riley always had something else to do. Paul was Riley’s best friend. Alice knew Riley missed him, too, but she said she didn’t like waiting. Alice didn’t like it. Nobody did. But Alice was a younger sister. She didn’t have the idea of not doing things because you didn’t like them.

She watched for the ferry, the way it started out as a little white triangle across the bay. When it wasn’t there, she could hardly imagine it. It was never coming. And then it appeared. It took shape quickly. It was always coming.

She stood. She couldn’t help it. She left her book on the bench with its paper cover fluttering open in the wind. Would this be him? Was he on there?

She let her hair out of its elastic. She stretched her tank top down over her hips. She wanted him to see all of her and also none of her. She wanted him to be dazzled by the bits and blinded to the whole. She wanted him to see her whole and not in pieces. She had hopes that were hard to satisfy.

Her legs bounced; her arms clutched her middle. She saw the approach of the middle-aged woman in a pink sarong who taught her mother’s yoga class.

“Who are you waiting for, Alice?”

Exposed as she was, the friendly question struck Alice as a cruelty.

“No one,” Alice lied awkwardly. The woman’s tanned face was as familiar to Alice as the wicker sofa on the screened porch, but that did not mean that Alice knew her name. She knew the lady’s poodle was named Albert and that her yoga class was heavy on the chanting. In a place like this, as a child you weren’t responsible for the names of grown-ups, though the grown-ups always knew yours. If you were a child, relationships here began asymmetrically, and there rarely came a specific opportunity for reevaluation. You bore the same age relationship to people here no matter how old you got.

The woman looked at Alice’s feet, which told the truth. If you were getting on the 3:55, you wore shoes.

Alice self-consciously straggled over to the freight area as though she had some purpose there. She didn’t lie easily, and doing it now conferred an unwanted intimacy. She preferred to save her lies for the people whose names she knew.

She couldn’t look at the boat. She sat back down on the bench, crossing her arms and her legs and bowing her head.

It was a small village on a small island with customs and rules all its own. “No keys, no wallet, no shoes” was the saying that expressed their summer way of life. There were no cars and—in the old days, at least—nobody locked their house. The single place of commerce was the Waterby market, mostly trading in candy and ice cream cones, where your name was your credit and they didn’t accept cash. Shoes meant you were coming, going, or playing tennis. Even at the yacht club. Even at parties. There was a community pride in having feet tough enough to withstand the splintering boardwalks. It’s not that you didn’t get splinters—you always did. You just shut up about it. Every kid knew that. At the end of each summer, the bottoms and sides of Alice’s feet were speckled black with old splinters. Eventually they disappeared; she was never quite sure where they went. “They are reabsorbed,” a knowledgeable seven-year-old named Sawyer Boyd told her once.

Everyone’s business came through this ferry dock, with rhythms and hierarchies unlike other places. You saw the people as they came and went and waited. You also saw their stuff piled on the dock until they loaded it onto their wagon and rolled it home. You knew what kind of toilet paper they bought. Alice still rated two-ply a luxury more subtle and telling than a person’s bag or shoes. You knew that the people with the Fairway bags and the paper products were getting off here in Waterby or in Saltaire. The people getting off in the town of Kismet always had beer.

Cars were conveyors of privacy. Without them, you lived a lot more of your life out in the open. Where you went, who you went with. Who you waited for at the ferry dock. Who you brushed your hair for. You were exposed here, but you were also safe.

The carlessness of the place had always appealed to certain utopian types, even shallow ones. “Get rid of cars and you get rid of global warming, oil wars in the Middle East, obesity, and most crime, too,” her father liked to say.

The ferry put an extra emphasis on coming and going. Adults went back and forth all the time, but there had been many summers when Alice and Riley had come and gone only once. They came with their pale skin, haircuts meant to last the summer, their tender feet, and their shyness. They left with brown, freckled, bitten skin; tangly hair; foot bottoms thick like tires; and familiarity verging on rudeness.

She remembered the hellos, and she remembered the good-byes even more. End-of-summer tradition dictated that whoever was last to leave the island saluted departing friends by jumping into the water as the good-bye ferry pulled away.

Now she heard the boat grinding up behind her. She loosened her arms and pressed her hands against the wood. She heard the slapping of the wake against the pilings as the boat came around. She untucked one leg and bounced her free heel on the plank in front of her.

Alice would have liked to do the arriving instead of the waiting. She would have rather done the leaving than the getting left, but that was never the way it happened. For some reason it was always Alice who waited and Alice who dove in.

The ferry was like a time capsule, in a way. A space capsule. It sent you and your fellow canvas-bag travelers through a wormhole, the same one every time.

Paul stood on the top deck in the wet wind as the monstrous coastal houses of Long Island’s south shore gave way to dark, briny water.

The thick feeling of the air began when you stepped onto the ferry. The stickiness over every surface. His hair blew around and he thought of Alice, fishing in her backpack for an elastic. He could picture her anchoring various things in her mouth as she braided her hair. He’d had short hair then, and though he admired her skill at braiding in wind—what boy wasn’t mystified by a braid?—he’d thought it was needless. Now his hair was long.

The first sighting was the Robert Moses obelisk, and second was the gangly lighthouse. Well, it wasn’t gangly really. In truth, this lighthouse set his standard for all others, and the others looked stout and dumpy by comparison. You loved what you knew. You couldn’t help it. He couldn’t, though he did try.

She would be there. If she was still Alice, she would be there. If Riley was still Riley, she would not be. He had called, so if Alice didn’t come, it would mean something. If she did come, it would mean something also. He wished he hadn’t called, in a way. The old staging unnerved him, but after all this time he couldn’t just sneak up on Alice.

He could imagine that she hadn’t checked the messages, but he knew Alice to be heartrendingly on top of the messages. As though she was always waiting for something good and some-thing bad.

Now the sweeter, older, coast of the island emerged, coughed up by the bay in time for his arrival. He discerned the wide, curling arm of the dock. He saw the figures on it. He knew Riley would be the same. By the letters she wrote him, he could tell she would look and sound the same. But the idea of a twenty-one-year-old Alice scared him.

Would their parents be there? Could he contend with the whole bunch of them on such a narrow tatter of land stuck out here between the ocean and the bay?

Now the shapes of the houses grew and sharpened, and the faces on the dock turned toward the boat expectantly—a bunch of circles without features at first. He unstuck himself from the bench, stretched his legs. He felt the chill sweat of his fingers knitted around the handles of his duffel bag.

Without quite giving himself the go-ahead, he started scanning the faces. The older ones were most familiar. The tricky doubles player with the comb-over—what was his name? The guy with the crooked shoulders who tended to the fire trucks, the brown lady with the dog under her arm. The club pro, Don Rontano, with the starched polo shirt, collar upturned, who got on so well with the lonely ladies. The children were impossible to identify, and the bodies between old and young he feared to scrutinize. Would her hair have gotten as dark as that? Could her shape have changed into that?

No and no, obviously. At this distance, closing in at this speed, you knew a person by her posture, by certain unnameable qualities, and those weren’t and couldn’t be hers. Maybe she hadn’t come. Maybe she wasn’t even on the island. But what could make Alice not come?

There was one other figure—a girl, it seemed—half-curled on the bench, one foot tucked under her. But her back was to him, and unlike the others, she didn’t turn her face to the boat.

He scanned the small cluster again, resenting the spasmodic activity of his eyeballs. What if she were different now? What if he couldn’t keep his old idea of her?

As the ferry pulled around the hook of the dock, the sitting girl stood. Her hair blew around her face, obscuring it. Maybe that was the reason he continued to imagine her a stranger even after he got close enough to see. For a few moments, both frantic and calm, he watched her carefully, feeling a tingle in the old, blocked-off passageways. He felt the neurons firing in the part of his brain responsible for present perception but also in the part devoted to memory.

Maybe that was why a strange overload took place just then, when he recognized her and didn’t recognize her at the same time. Ideas and feelings rushed in that he might have rather kept out.

“Hey,” he said to her.

She hugged him, putting her chin on his shoulder and her face toward the lighthouse. It wasn’t the kind of thing they did. It wasn’t so much intimacy that provoked it, but the need not to look at him any longer.

She couldn’t really feel anything of him or focus her eyes exactly. Her body was numb and her eyes confused her. In a moment of lucidity, she feared he could feel her heart pounding and she pulled away.

She put her head down and gestured to his bag. “Is that everything?” she asked his bag.

“That’s it.” He sounded almost rueful. She wanted to check his face, but he was looking at her, so she didn’t. What was the matter with her? It was just him! It was the same old Paul. But it also wasn’t. He was the strangest of strangers in that he was also her oldest friend.

“Is it heavy?” she found herself saying.

“No. It’s fine,” he said, and she thought she heard the seed of a laugh in his voice. Was he going to laugh at her? He used to do that. He teased her and laughed at her without relent. But if he did that now, she would die.

She’d intended to feel cold toward him this time. For leaving for so long and forgetting her. Did you forget me? She was good at being angry with him when he was away, but in his presence she never could.

She forged ahead and he followed. Mrs. McKay was unlocking her wagon, and Connie, their old swim coach, was on the fishing side. If she raised her head, she would see others. They all knew Paul. Would they recognize him with his long, clumpy hair and his bristly face?

All the things she planned to feel, the way she planned to look and seem, the appropriate things she planned to say. None of them came to pass.

“Let’s go find Riley,” he said from behind her, and her heart thrilled with relief. That was what they could do. That would make sense of it.

She offered him her mother’s bike and got on her own. He balanced his duffel bag over the basket and maneuvered up the skinny boardwalk ahead of her with the grace of a true islander. He used to ride three bikes at once. He could do a wheelie without his hands. He had been her hero of bikes.

They went directly to the ocean beach. He walked out of his shoes and peeled off his socks, barely slowing down. He stood on the stairs at the top of the dune, taking it in, and she lingered a few feet behind, breathless to see what kind of beach it was today.

As children, they had dozens of names for the beach, like Eskimos naming snow, and they were ever finding need for more. A placid, white-sand and sparkly turquoise affair was a Tortola beach after an island in the Caribbean that Paul had been dragged to with his mother. They scorned such a beach. The Riley beach, also known as Fight beach, was when the little grains of sand whipped like glass against your skin and the surf was ragged and punishing. An Alice beach was truly rare, and it involved tide pools.

Today Alice wanted the kind he used to want, the Paul beach, low-tide crunchy sand, a sharp drop-off to the water, and a close army of rough, green waves. How familiar it felt to want his wants for him. That much had not changed.

Once Paul told her that the beach was like him because it changed every day but it never made any progress. Later she remembered thinking that a normal person might have begun by saying that he was like the beach.

Alice held her hair back, acknowledging that this beach was yet another requiring a name. A Nervous beach. A Gnashing beach. The sand was smooth and gradual, but the surf was wild, the waves coming in at a diagonal pitch. She was making up her mind not to swim as Paul set off down the decrepit steps. She looked east toward the lifeguard chair, with Riley sitting in it and the red “no swimming” flag flying above her.

Paul didn’t bend his steps toward Riley but rather headed straight for the water. Alice watched in muffled surprise as he walked into the surf fully clothed. He dove into an olive-colored wall. Alice watched eagerly for his head to pop out of the irritable froth crashing all around. She looked to her sister, who was now standing up in the chair, neck forward in her pose of lifeguard alertness, hands on her hips.

Paul’s head did finally appear at least twenty yards out. He was beyond the breaking waves but bobbing and buffeted nonetheless.

Alice could see Riley muttering to another guard, who stood atthe foot of the stand. She blew her whistle twice. “Get out of thewater!” she bellowed, pointing at the red flag. “Asshole,” she muttered.

From far out, Paul lifted his arm and waved to her.

Alice could tell the moment Riley realized who it was. She whooped loudly enough for Alice to hear. She looked back over her shoulder and saw Alice there.

Riley’s pose relaxed. Her whistled dropped. She shrugged and Alice smiled. Riley shouted to be heard over the fresh blast of wind. “I guess Paul is back.”

“Just leave him out there,” Riley said to her backup guard. “He’ll be fine.”

She sat back down in her chair and watched Paul’s bouncing head. She wasn’t going in after him. Let him drown. He would never drown.

Paul had worked through every phase of lifeguard training alongside her, determined to best her every time. Though never to his face, she credited him with making her tough. She didn’t just pass the challenges, she had to try to beat Paul. And then the day of the actual test—a formality by that point, their victory lap—Paul didn’t show up. When she saw him later by the ferry dock, he’d just shrugged. It was the culmination of her life, and he’d acted like the thing had slipped his mind.

But on her first official day in the chair, when she’d nearly exploded with pride in her official red suit, Paul had turned up again. She didn’t realize the dark-haired figure thrashing out beyond the surf was Paul. She’d leapt off the chair with all possible intensity, blowing her whistle, marshaling her equipment, shouting commands, her blood dashing with purpose.

When she got out to the deep water and saw who it was, she wanted to drown him for real. She called him a motherfucker and started to swim back to shore, her cheeks pounding red with fury. Then she saw the lineup of concerned citizens on the sand and the head guard apoplectic at the idea that she was abandoning the victim. And there was Paul out there, keeping up his act. What could she do? She went back and saved his ass. As she dragged him toward the beach, she gave a ferocious pinch on the back of his neck. It was the only time he writhed authentically.

When they were little, she and Paul were the same. She understood him without having to try. They fought sometimes. In third grade she kicked him to the ground. In fifth grade he shoved herinto a doorway and she had to get six stitches in her eyebrow. They didn’t fight physically after that, though she did try to provoke him. It was the scar, she thought, that made him stop. She liked the scar.

After middle school, he started making everything so complicated. He got quiet and brooding sometimes for no reason she could determine. She always thought he would have ended up happier if he’d just taken the lifeguard test. That was her true opinion. Later he joined weird political groups and tried to organize Central American fruit pickers who were too smart to take any of the crap he was trying to sell.

“I arrived with all my political ideas, but the poverty and sadness around here sort of nullifies them,” he’d written to her from a farm near Bakersville. “Last night somebody stole my wallet from my pants while I slept. I am finding myself absurd.”

She couldn’t argue. “You should have been a lifeguard,” she wrote back.

And yet, she did love him. In that way, she hated his disappointments even if she disagreed with the things he wanted.

“Can you take over the shift?” she asked Adam Pryce. He was her backup guard and her junior by six years. He agreed, and she jumped down off the chair. With an old feeling of joy, she walked down to the waves and dove into an ocean that no sane person would swim in. She swam out to Paul with a few tough strokes.

And so they bobbed around together, skirting a riptide, taunting the waves while Alice looked on from the beach.

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    Reading...it's my addiction

    I really love this book. I felt a lot of it dragged on in details but once it got to certain areas you were really impacted with the characters emotions. It's like everything they felt were really intensified and well defined. I like a lot of the messages this book contained, about how things change and grow while others remain the same. It really makes you question things. Overall the book was one I will never forget and one I think everyone {mostly} should read.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    An amazing story about love and trust

    This book by Ann Brashares is about a close knit group of friends on a summer island when tradgedy strikes one of the friends, Riely. Rielys sister Alice is in a sort of secret relationship with Rielys best friend Paul. And when Riely gets sick it tears them all apart. Everything falls apart around them and their small close knit summer oasis can no longer protect them from the horrors and sadness of the real world. There are a few major messages in this book and I think the most obvious ones is dont forget to tell someone you love them because you may regret it later. This happens to Alice and Paul all through out the book and the duration of Rielys sickness. Another message is live life to the fullest because of Reiley and the way she lived life, Paul and Alice learn from her and her way of life. I really loved the way that Ann Brashares wrote the book in a way that people can get so absorbed in the characters that it almost feels like you are there with them and have this connection with them. The way that she gives you an insight into their lives makes you not want to put the book down. There was absolutely nothing that I didn't like about this book and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a very sweet romance novel!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Another enjoyable read from Ann Brashares.

    I enjoyed reading this (relatively) new book by Ann Brashares. It was bittersweet and funny and intense as you spent the summer with the 3 main characters. You could feel like you were there on the island with them. I would have liked it to end a little differently but other than that, I really enjoyed it.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2008

    An Excellent Book

    It appears that readers either loved it or hated it. I most definitely belong to the former group. I'd give it a B-plus to A-minus. I certainly do not agree with Publishers Weekly or Kirkus Reviews, the two professional reviews that I usually respect the most. They thought it was too much of a hackneyed teen romance-type, but it was precisely because I found it NOT that way that I liked it so much. Ann Brashares, whom I had never read before, is exceptionally talented at capturing authentic dialogue and the give-and-take of personal interactions. I felt as if I were in the same room with these people, that I was part of the interaction. Given the plot, in the hands of a less talented writer, it could have easily dissolved into a trite and treacly potboiler, but it transcended that. It subtly and skillfully explored all the nuances and dips and turns of human relationships. I hope Brashares is already at work on her second adult novel!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2008

    a mellow read

    I think the main reason why people dont enjoy this book is due to the fact that we have all read SisterHood of the Traveling Pants. The Last Summer of you and Me have nothing to deal with the pants...and for the first few page i cant help but think back about her previous novels...however as i get into the middle of it, my mind eased down and i started thinking more about the story itself...The Last Summer of You and Me is sweet and touching, at certain times I could even find myself crying for the characters...i wouldnt say that its a read for everyone...but it is a good book...not great but it was a mellow read

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

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    GOOD READ!

    Sisters Alice and Riley have always spent summers in a close-knit community on New York's Fire Island.They spent long hours with their friend, Paul. Paul has long had feelings for Alice, a burning desire that he has denied. Alice feels much the same, but she's just as afraid to explore her feelings. Things seem to fall into place until tragedy strikes. Secrets tear the friends apart and a devastating disease threatens. Good lessons learned here...GOOD READ!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    A story of love, friendship, and loss

    When I read this book I expected another story of just two old friends falling in love, the end. What I got when I read this was the feeling of love and respect for the characters. Riley is so out there and a bit misunderstood. Alice tries to fix everything and Paul is.. well Paul. The love in this book was just so strong. When I got to the end all I did was try not to cry. A beautiful story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

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    Another Brashares Masterpiece!

    Absolutely LOVED this book! I got it as a gift from my grandma because she knew how much I loved the Sisterhood books. I actually like the paperback cover art better, but the hardcover is nice too. I wasn't sure if I liked the book in the beginning, and unlike the Sisterhood novels,it took me a little while to get into it. Once it really started flowing, I fell in love with the characters and could relate to them easily. I felt like I knew them by the end. The relationships between the characters were very touching, and the book made me laugh, cry and everything in between. Brashares makes her readers feel as if we've known the characters our whole lives, and that's what I really like about her writing. Anyways, I'll stop rambling now, but I would recommend this book to everyone, young and old! :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    NOT BORING

    This book was so amazing. There were so many twists that I could barely put the book down. My friends and I passed this book around and our whole group ended up reading it and we absolutely love it. I recommend this book to people who are mature or are 15 and above. Warning to parents allot of sexual content and some use of vulgar language.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

    Loved it!

    Thoroughly romantic with a little bittersweetness. It isn't the most challenging book read, but I could not put down the book and I have read it a couple more times since I bought it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Superb

    The family always spent summer in Waterby on Fire Island so not breaking from her childhood tradition twenty-one year old Alice and her older sister twenty-four year old Riley are there. The tomboyish Riley actually is working as lifeguard.------------------- Also on the island for the first time in two summers is Riley's best friend Paul. His father is dead and he never sees his mother. However, he is not back on Fire Island for a vacation Paul must decide what to do about the family house not used last summer. Paul also has to decide what to do about his neighbors as he wants Alice, but fears hurting Riley if he makes a move he also believes Alice is attracted to him but like him does not want to hurt her sister. Riley has issues too that impact the other two members of the triangle.-------------- Fans of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will enjoy the first adult tale as the players somewhat grow up though at times they behave more like teens especially when conflict arises. The story line is fun to follow as change is in the air of Fire Island with Paul wanting to come out and declare his love for Alice. The Pants crowd will enjoy this fine summer entry, but the lead trio has not fully turned adult.---------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More Than A Summer Read

    The Last Summer (of You and Me) is poignant, thoughtful, and heartbreaking. I wish I could just sit and talk for hours with someone about these characters and what they went through, what they put themselves through. Alice and Riley are sisters whose best friend, Paul, decides to grace Fire Island with his presence after a three year absence. He's brooding, he's mysterious, he's lost. His best friend Riley is sculpted into an unbreakable devotion to the purity and innocence of childhood. Riley's younger sister, Alice, is selfless, giving, and devoted. Paul is torn between letting himself suffer for his mistakes and chancing himself to know happiness. Riley fears getting left behind. Alice fears moving forward. It's complicated. They're complicated. But their complications are worth the retribution they find. You'll experience heartbreak, but the ending is a joy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Summer Book!

    Just picked this book up and was very happy with the read! Enjoyed the "sisters" and their relationships! Take this book to the beach or relax by the pool and before you know it you'll be finished. Highly recommend it! We included this book in our summer reading list of books as we recently visited the book store, a summer tradition, to gather up all of our pics for our summer reading list. This includes books for myself, my husband, kids and nieces and nephews. We also buy some books as birthday presents for others so they can join in on our discussions, like the aunts and uncles and grandparents. We have a mini book club where we discuss our books as we all read along. We all read several books so as the reading goes along there are a lot of books to review. The kids have found a wonderful book called, Smitty's Cave Adventures. They all love thrilling action-adventure books and this one in no exception,full of mystery and intrigue! From a parental point of view, Smitty's Cave Adventures also has a good moral overtone. Even the girls wanted to read this book and they all concluded that this is their favorite book so far!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

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    A very heart warming love story...

    Paul, Riley and Alice have been best friends since they were kids. Riley and Alice are sisters - Riley the eldest and Paul used to carry Alice around when she was a baby. The books starts off Alice waiting for Paul to get off the Ferry to Fire Island where they all used to meet during Summer, however, it has been 3 years since Paul has made it back to the island. Alice is 21, Paul and Riley are 24 - 3 years older than her. Paul's always been mean to Alice, and you know the saying goes, if a boy dips your ponytail in paint, he likes you. It goes without saying that Paul has been in love with Alice for as long as he can remember, and Alice has been waiting and saving herself for Paul.

    When Paul finally comes to Fire Island, he knows that Riley, the Summer lifeguard, will not be waiting for him at the end of the dock on the Ferry but only Alice will. He realized he hasn't seen her in 3 years and was nervous about that.

    Paul is afraid that their friendships may change if he gave in to his wanting Alice and therefore keeps her at arms length and still is some times mean to her. One day Alice gathers up her courage and entices him and tells him she wants to be with him ...

    Their romance starts but there are two secrets within these friends that will rock their world ...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    Alice, her older sister Riley, and next-door neighbor Paul have grown up together, barefoot on the splintery boardwalks of the kind of resort town where nobody locks the door or carries a wallet. As a teen, Riley was the youngest of the lifeguards; now, at 24, she's the oldest, still content to stare out over the ocean in the hopes of catching sight of a dolphin. Alice worries that both of them are aiming too low in the journey towards adulthood, hence Alice's decision to go to law school, where she hopes she'll learn to be a grown up. When tragedy strikes, Alice finds herself filled with fear that she and Paul are betraying Riley by turning a threesome into a couple plus third wheel. Technically, Paul is Riley's best friend, and they've always "shared" Alice as a little sister. For Alice to claim a greater stake in Paul than Riley is more than she feels entitled to allow herself. It's an emotional roller coaster of a book because you feel for Alice and the feeling of loss and sadness, it's a very touching book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    A great book for anyone who wants a romance but also likes the simple side of life.

    This was amazing! I am absolutely in love with Ann Brashares work. The way this book is written it tells the story from three different points of view. This changes it up and makes the story that much more interesting because the reader can go into the private minds of each character. For the reader there are no missunderstandings because we know everyones thoughts and feelings on a certain situation. I recommend this book 100% to anybody mature enough to take it all in. It's a simple romance but makes you think about life and appreciate the simple things and momments in it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book!

    I loved this book, it is so different from the Traveling Pants series, yet has the same undertones. Great for the beach, or to curl up at home with!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing!

    I cried like a baby. I felt like the characters were my friends. I can't wait to read her next Adult book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2008

    touching sisterly bonds

    I personally love Ann Brashares. This novel was intriguing to me because it was not at all like the writing style used in the sisterhood of the traveling pants series, her character development was extremely different. Although it was a sappy love story it was written with a regard for a different audience and had an interesting twist. <BR/> Alice was my favorite character for her courage and honesty to take risks with Paul. While she did betray her sister, not in the same cowardly way that Riley betrays Alice.<BR/> Overall, it was a nice twist from the sisterhood and also had a great story behind the love story. Kudos to Ann Brashares!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    Loved It

    I thought that Brashares use of language was beautiful. The characters that she created allowed me to be emotionally invested in their futures. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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